Our woodlands and trees are now seen as a vital part of our global carbon solution, as well as, important to increase the diversity of our landscapes.
The opportunity in Woodland Carbon is emerging as a current and critical issue. Trees and Carbon Capture come hand in hand, however, for many people in the industry, it is hard to set a realistic value on woodland carbon, which makes it challenging to develop a project structure.
Previously, many projects have been seen to struggle in the planning stages with only a few landowners taking on the challenge of developing a Woodland Carbon strategy.
Recently however, Dr Vicky West, from The Forestry Commission’s woodland carbon team, has reported results of verified carbon units trading in the UK. The Government have also committed £50 million to develop a domestic woodland carbon market through the Woodland Carbon Guarantee Scheme, with details hopefully to follow soon.
Trees and woodlands are seen as a critical part of our carbon solutions, with a recent pledge for 3 billion trees and 200 miles of hedgerows to be planted by 2050. A long way in the future, but a positive goal to work towards.
The Woodland Carbon Code (WCC)
The Woodland Carbon Code (WCC) is a UK standard for forestry projects to provide independent validation of carbon removal and climate change mitigation.
Every WCC project is registered to provide information and track the carbon units. Currently, 190 projects have created over 20,000ha of woodland, which translates into an equivalent of 6.3million tonnes of carbon dioxide over their lifetime.
The UK’s current annual emissions are around 468 million tonnes, so this figure is never going to be able to compensate at the current levels, but it’s a positive movement in the Government’s effort to net-zero emissions.
The volumes of Carbon locked up by new woodland varies depending on species, site and the management but as an average a new woodland are would lock up an average of 315 tCO2e/ha over their lifetime.
The Current markets show a spilt between ‘Pending Issuance Units’ (PIUs) and ‘Woodland Carbon Units’ (WCUs). PIUs relate to estimates, and WCUs relate to actual carbon locked up following a verification. Putting a trading market value on this is difficult, but they are open to development in the future.
With a huge Government focus on Carbon and the role of new woodlands, this presents a promising marketing opportunity.
Read more about how to Protect our Wildlife during Construction.